How to get your new leaders off to a good start

So you’ve hired or promoted people to their first leadership position and you are worried. If they don’t work out or take too long to get up to speed then all eyes will be on you. So what can you do to ensure these budding leaders get the best possible start to their new career?

What you need is a comprehensive induction program designed specifically for new leaders. This needs to be in addition to any existing program you have in place for general hires.

Putting your new leaders through a tailored induction program is like a right of passage. They go in thinking like team members and come out with the knowledge, skills and attitude they need to start being team leaders. Whether you do this as a group event or create a way that individuals can work through it alone, it is vital that you offer new leader induction when people are first appointed to a role. 

This program should cover off areas such as:

  • corporate strategy to help them understand the big picture
  • leadership philosophy of the organisation
  • an understanding of how their team fits into the organisation
  • outline clear expectations for their role
  • provide details of reporting requirements they must now meet
  • explain relevant policies, procedures and practices
  • fill them in on relevant, current leadership initiatives and issues
  • introduce them to other leaders they will be working with
  • give them ideas on how they can get to know their team

This is also a good time to introduce them to senior leaders, directors or owners of the organisation. Even if they have been working with the organisation for a while they may not have met all the people who run it. If you want them to really feel like a member of the leadership team this step is a symbolic, but important one.

This should be a formal process not just a casual chat with their immediate manager or another frontline leader who has been around a while. That approach will not send the right message. You want them to know that they have support and that you recognise this is an important transition for them. 

How well does your organisation handle this important phase in the life of a new leader? I believe it is vital to their success which is why it is a step in my 4 phase “Practical Leadership Development Model”. 

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Comment by Cherish Bentley on August 10, 2015 at 11:50

Great pointers thanks Karen - particularly like the part about showing them the bigger picture which I think is an area so easily forgotten sometimes!

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